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I Am The Iguana

by Jen
(Boulder Creek, CA)

I have thousands of journal pages documenting my life in the last four years. I have always kept journals in life, for both pain and joy, yet I do not need these pages to remember.

The man I live with had two iguanas at one time. He lived across the street from friends, who later became my friends. One day, one of the Iguanas bit this man and enraged him so much, that he beat the Iguana and then put him out on the garbage can to die.
When I heard this story I was horrified. It happened long before I entered this man's life. I have never really seen this man hit an animal or another person, however his temper and his violent ways of speaking are an equivalent to being struck.

I sometimes feel like that Iguana must have felt, substituting the physical pain for emotional and mental pain. I write for relief, yet also to understand. I am not really allowed to keep a journal because if he reads it, as he has violated my privacy in past, he becomes enraged and tells me I have to move out of his house.

I keep the journal for my own therapy. I am also an artist on hold and not allowed to create in this house because it might take time away from the half hour he gives me of his time daily. In a very sad ironic way, if I pull up a page from this date four years ago, I see that nothing in this relationship has actually gotten better, except some longer times between his outrage for nothing incidents.

I am the Iguana in a sense that he needs someone to beat up and I enable that by staying. I have been accused of virtually everything that I have never done here and yet, no matter how justified and proved that is, that I did not do something, there has never been one word of sorry.

He will be fine and then go off in a moments notice over the simplest things. In the past two years, I have flat out denied him the pleasure of arguing because I have told him, that I refuse to waste energy in a negative manner.

Verbal, emotional, mental abuse is scarring. It does wreak havoc on self-esteem. It does contribute to a once alive and exuberant self confidence being less and less daily. It is heartbreaking and yet because the incidents decreased somewhat substantially, I have stayed in hope, but the hope is disappearing daily.

How can one be expected to try and trust as it becomes apparent that the incident can occur at any time over nothing. Everyone has left this man and even his own two sons do not come to see him. He is a busy mountain property man, who works full time, but that is not excuse and nor is his childhood, since he is 49 now.

This is one small part of my story and yes, I do feel completely alone, even with the small amount of support I have elsewhere, as I have no money right now and nowhere to go. He has threatened my friends and so, I just take life one day at a time and hope to leave this prison one day.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Jen, and thanks for telling your story here. Your story is very sad, and unfortunately very familiar. You are alone, in that there is no one there by your side to take your hand and help you, but you're not alone in the sense that there are other women all over the world who are or have been in your situation.

I want you to consider that you are more powerful than you know, and that you have more freedom than you think you do. I have written the following pages specifically to help people like you, and I encourage you to read each one, and follow the recommendations you find there.

how to deal with abusive relationships
battered wife syndrome

To resolve your situation, you will have to decide that you are worthy of respect, no matter what, and then you will do whatever you have to, to protect yourself from further abuse.

Believe in yourself and your right to be loved and cared for...all of the time.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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